GoArchitect is starting a blog series about the books that influenced today's architects and designers. Each week we ask one designer with one question: What 3 books have impacted your life in architecture and why?
The 3 books may be from childhood or just last week, the important element is that they helped define their personal or professional life. If you would like to be considered for a future interview, please fill this out.
Ashleigh Walton | AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate
Project Manager, Urban Design Associates
Ashleigh serves as a project manager and senior member on one of UDA’s design teams. She loves to travel, exploring and documenting streets, neighborhoods and cities, in her sketchbook. Ashleigh serves as an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and the Congress of New Urbanism. Ashleigh enjoys walking to work as one of Pittsburgh’s Downtown residents.
What 3 books have impacted your life in architecture and why?
Christopher Paolini, 2002-2011
I'm a great lover of fantasy, and many fantasy books have impacted my thinking about architecture, but the Eragon Cycle is special. Paolini uses architecture very deliberately and descriptively throughout the series, describing the elven stronghold, the ancestral home of the dragons and riders, and the fetid alleys of Dras Leona in great detail. The thing that struck me the most about his descriptions is that they focus not only on individual strongholds, castles, and buildings but on cities, towns, and encampments. It was a series that firmly gripped its characters into an engaging civic and architectural landscape that stepped beyond a myopic view. There is also strong architecture as virtue correlations, including a deep focus on the elven love of nature, the massive institutional scale of the once famed rulers of the nation on the island of the dragon riders, and the skin-crawling nearly insect-like tunnels beneath the dark peaks of Helgrind.
Francis D.K. Ching, 1979
Classic first year in architecture school reading. This book was incredibly impactful to me because of when I read it. As a junior in high school, I was fortunate enough to attend an architecture summer camp at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. This book was part of the reading list. Little did I know that years later, when I would attend Andrews University, it was also on my freshman year reading list. By then, I had already read the book and understood the basics of hierarchy, rhythm, and scale that would provide the foundation of most of my architectural theory-based classes.
Marianne Cusato, 2007
This book was instrumental in both my academic and professional life. The simple drawings and clear explanations helped me understand the fundamentals of basic details that would be part of nearly every building I would design or design review. The clear diagrams also helped in explanations to builders, and later, young aspiring architects who I would mentor. In the many buildings that I have designed or reviewed over the years, this book has been instrumental.
Have any of these books influenced your life or career in architecture? Leave a comment below and tell us how.